Queer Tangier: What you didn’t know about Morocco’s gay phase

Tangier, Morocco, Gay Authors, Gay Travel, Gay Tour
Peter Orlovsky (left), Jack Kerouac (centre) and William S Burroughs (clothed, bottom right) on a beach in Tangier, Morocco.

It was between the late 40s and early 50s when the gay literati of the time began flocking to Tangier, Morocco to escape the conservative landscape of America. Attracted to Tangier’s tolerant approach to sexuality and drugs, some of the largest names in the crew included William S Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jean Genet and Truman Capote.

By day these beatniks and bohemians met in Grand Cafe de Paris, breaking bread and exchanging ideas. By night, they drank in excess, procured prostitutes and indulged in the country’s surplus of drugs, unfettered by disinterested law enforcement.

While Morocco’s political stance on homosexuality has taken a sharp conservative turn, the country remains an important part of queer history and tourism. Not only were Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes scattered in Marrakesh, but tourists can still visit the Grand Cafe de Paris and El Muniria (the homestay where the majority of said authors resided).

Scroll down for five quotes by the most prominent figures who got swept up in Queer Tangier.

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